Morse has torn sheath, bone bruise in wrist

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Morse has torn sheath, bone bruise in wrist

NEW YORK -- An examination of Michael Morse's left wrist this morning revealed a torn sheath and bone bruise, injuries that while currently painful don't require surgery and could possibly allow the Nationals' left fielder to return to the lineup Friday in Atlanta.

Morse said the diagnosis actually gave him peace of mind, relieving any worries he had a break or more significant tear that would keep him out longer.

"Oh, yeah. For sure," he said. "Just have to get it better now."

There's not a whole lot Morse can do to help speed along the healing process, aside from rest and some anti-inflammatory medication. The plan for now: He's not playing in tonight's series finale against the Mets and will be off with the rest of the club Thursday. He'll then attempt to take batting practice Friday in Atlanta, at which point the Nationals will decide whether he's ready to play or needs more time to recover.

"We asked for anything we can do," Morse said. "They pretty much said the best thing is just to let it calm down."

The Nationals also will send copies of Morse's MRI to a specialist in Baltimore, seeking another opinion.

The injury has plagued Morse for about a month and could be a byproduct of him compensating for another injury to his right thumb. Unable to grip his bat during a mid-August series in San Francisco, he attempted a one-handed swing, adding stress to his left wrist.

Morse has played through the pain since, but his production has dropped off. Since that series against the Giants, he's hitting .238 with two homers and zero doubles.

After going 0-for-5 during Tuesday night's win, he told manager Davey Johnson about the extent of his pain.

"I'm sick of hurting the team," he said.

"He's been trying to play through it, but I was going to give him off anyway because I thought he had to be hurting the way he's been swinging," Johnson said. "Glad to find out about it. Wished he'd have said something. Maybe we could've given him some time off and then he wouldn't have had to struggle through this little batting slump."

The sheath is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds the wrist. If completely torn, it could require surgery, but that doesn't appear to be the case for Morse.

This is merely the latest ailment to interrupt Morse's season. He missed the season's first two months with a torn lat muscle and missed time last month after getting hit by a pitch in his right hand.

Overall, the 30-year-old is hitting .285 with 13 homers, 49 RBI and a .758 OPS in 88 total games on the heels of a breakthrough 2011 in which he led the Nationals with a .303 average, 31 homers, 95 RBI and a .910 OPS.

"It's been a tough year," he said. "I'm going to try to help the team as much as possible."

Scherzer roughed up as Nats drop second straight to Cubs

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Scherzer roughed up as Nats drop second straight to Cubs

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 8-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field:

How it happened: After the Nats enjoyed a brief 2-0 lead highlighted by a first-inning solo home run by Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer's homer problem reared its ugly head once again. 

The barrage began in the second inning when Tommy La Stella took Scherzer deep to tie it up at 2-2. The 31-year-old right hander then allowed back-to-back solo shots to Anthony Rizzo and Nats-killer Ben Zobrist in the fourth. It got worse, as Zobrist hit his second home run of the day, this time a three-run homer, making it 7-2 Cubs and essentially ending Scherzer's day. 

The Nats' put together a four-run rally in the eighth thanks to a two-run double by Jayson Werth and a two-run home run by Wilson Ramos. But like Thursday night, it was too little, too late. 

What it means: The Cubs are good. Really, really good. It also means that the Nats, while off to a solid start themselves, aren't yet in the class of the North Siders, whose run differential now sits at a ridiculous +98. Washington has dropped the first two games of this marquee series, and is now 5-3 on this 10-game road trip. 

Scherzer gets roughed up: The Nats' $200 million man turned in his worst start of the season against the Cubs — and perhaps the worst start of his tenure in D.C. Scherzer's home run issues continued Friday afternoon, as he yielded four long balls —tied for his career-high for a start — en route to allowing seven earned runs over five innings. Never before had he allowed that many runs since joining the Nats. 

Murphy's back at it again: The silver lining in Friday's tough loss is that Daniel Murphy continues his scortching start to the season. After going hitless Thursday night, the Nats second baseman rebounded bigtime by going 4-for-4 on the afternoon to raise his batting average to an MLB-leading .406. It feels like this can't last all season, but a month into the season, he hasn't found himself in anything remotely resembling a slump. It's unlikely that Murphy's the next incarnation of Ted Williams, but it's safe to say the Nats may have gotten a bargain when they signed him this offseason at three years, $37.5 million. 

What's next: The Nats will hope the third game in this four-game set is the charm as they'll send Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.15 ERA) to the mound Saturday afternoon to oppose the Cubs' Jason Hammel (4-0, 1.24 ERA). 

MLB Power Rankings: Stability at the top

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MLB Power Rankings: Stability at the top

A month into the season and things are finally starting to even out. The Braves are terrible and the Cubs are historically good. The Beltway has baseball's best rivalry right now and the Philles might be good? See how the rest of the MLB Power Rankings pan out:

30. Atlanta Braves (LW: 30)

Manager Fredi Gonzalez stays until when? Memorial Day? Early June?

29. Minnesota Twins (LW: 28)

Byron Buxton got sent down, which is something I'm sure the Twins totally planned on happening all along. 

28. San Diego Padres (LW: 29)

Hunter Renfroe can't be far away. The Padres have some exciting youth coming through the system. 

27. Milwaukee Brewers (LW:25)

Taking 2 out of 3 from the Angels is a nice? Who knows. ​

26. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 23) 

Remember when they were in the top-15 of these rankings? Good times. ​

SEE THE REST OF THE POWER RANKINGS HERE

Revere makes his return to the lineup as Nats hope to rebound vs. Cubs

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Revere makes his return to the lineup as Nats hope to rebound vs. Cubs

Nationals (19-9) vs. Cubs (21-6) at Wrigley Field 

On Thursday night, the Nationals found out the hard way what makes the Cubs the best team in baseball. Despite a quality outing by Joe Ross, Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist drove in four of Chicago's five runs en route to a 5-2 series-opening win for the home team. 

But the Nats will head into Friday's game with what they hope is a big boost to their offense: Centerfielder Ben Revere makes his return to the lineup for the first time since his Opening Day oblique injury, replacing Michael Taylor atop the batting order. How long will it take him to get in a groove? 

As for the pitching matchup, the Nats will send out their ace Max Scherzer (3-1, 3.55 ERA) to oppose John Lackey (3-1, 4.32 ERA), who was one of the Cubs' big offseason acquisitions. 

First pitch: 2:20 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Cubs - John Lackey

NATS

CF Ben Revere 

3B Anthony Rendon

RF Bryce Harper 

1B Ryan Zimmerman 

2B Daniel Murphy

LF Jayson Werth 

C Wilson Ramos

SS Danny Espinosa 

P Max Scherzer

 

CUBS

CF Dexter Fowler 

RF Jayson Heyward 

LF Kris Bryant 

1B Anthony Rizzo 

2B Ben Zobrist 

3B Tommy La Stella 

SS Javy Baez 

C David Ross

P John Lackey 

 

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